Burundi rulers win by landslide

2010-07-27 17:16

Bujumbura - Burundi's ruling party won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections which were boycotted by the main opposition groups, the electoral commission announced on Tuesday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza's CNDD-FDD party took 81 of the 106 seats in the lower house of parliament in elections held on Friday and in which he was assured of victory.

UPRONA, the only opposition group to take part in the polls, won 17 seats and another smaller party won five, electoral commission chief Pierre Claver Ndayicariye said.

According to the country's power-sharing constitution, the remaining three seats will go to the Twa, the smallest of Burundi's three ethnic groups.

The accord calls for a 60%-40% split of the parliamentary seats between Hutus who account for 85% of the population and Tutsis who make up 14%. The Twa comprise 1% of the population.

Ndayicariye said around 67% of voters took part in the elections, which he said were peaceful.

"All the observers noted that the elections were peaceful across the country," said the poll body chief, making no mention of the opposition boycott.

The parliamentary elections were the last major poll in a series of elections that opened in May, but have been marred by arrests, claims of fraud and violence.

The opposition withdrew from the contest after the May 24 local elections charging that they were rigged by the ruling party.

Two opposition officials have since gone into hiding. Former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa who joined the government last year and was seen as Nkurunziza's key challenger said he feared for his life.

CNDD-FDD party chief Jeremie Ngendakumana said they would hold talks with the other parties.

"We will not use our victory to undermine others, but we will promote dialogue and consistently seek a consensus."